Friday 16 November 2018

Taoiseach leads tributes to 'a legendary figure inthe Irish media'

Fergus Black

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen led many tributes to Vinnie Doyle, the former Editor of the Irish Independent, who has died after a short illness at the age of 72. He said Mr Doyle believed in getting the story and in getting it right.

"Vinnie Doyle was a legendary figure in the Irish media, whose traditional commitment to news-gathering and values won the respect of his peers in journalism and, beyond that, in the worlds of politics, business and sport," he said.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Vinnie Doyle was a giant in the media world, who personified the term 'newspaperman'.

"Tenacious when pursuing a story and dedicated in the newsroom, he rose through the ranks to become one of the most powerful and respected figures in Irish journalism," he said.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore described him as a legendary figure in the newspaper industry but said he was also greatly admired and respected in the world of politics.

"He was a courageous and innovative Editor, who presided over the biggest-selling newspaper in the country for almost 25 years, a period during which the industry and Irish society itself were going through profound change," he said.

Green Party leader and Environment Minister John Gormley said the papers he produced showed huge commitment to news-gathering and presen-tation, characterised by immediacy, accuracy and simplicity.

In a statement, Gavin O'Reilly, CEO of Independent News & Media, said Vinnie Doyle embodied all that was great about Irish journalism.

"Arguably both loved and feared in equal measure, he was undoubtedly the outstanding newspaper Editor of his generation. Respected by colleagues and competitors alike and by the political establishment, Vinnie brought a unique vigour, independence and insight to news reporting.

"He worked tirelessly for readers, uncovering, decoding and reporting on all the major events of Ireland over the past 50 years.

"In a distinguished career that spanned nearly 40 years at Independent, Vinnie was ever faithful to his brief -- ensuring fairness, accuracy and excellence at all times."

Mr O'Reilly continued: "A formidable and no-nonsense Editor, his ever-keen news sense, creative flair and constant pursuit of the truth enlivened both the 'Evening Herald' and the Irish Independent, making them the number-one brands they are today.

"Vinnie's sudden passing has been a shock to us all and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him and were lucky enough to work alongside him."

He added: "On behalf of all the staff of Independent News & Media PLC, both past and present, I wish to convey my deep and heartfelt condolences to his wife Gertie and sons, Garret, Conor and Vincent Jnr."

Chief Executive of Independent Newspapers Ireland, Joe Webb, said: "We are deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Vinnie. He committed himself totally to the cause of the Irish Independent over the 25 years he served as Editor.

"Under his astute stewardship, the Irish Independent scaled new heights, becoming the national voice that it is now. Our thoughts today are with his family at this very sad time."

Irish Independent Editor Gerry O'Regan described Vinnie Doyle as "the most inspiring Irish newspaperman of his age".

He said: "Vinnie combined great flair with an unremitting work ethic. His achievements as Editor of the 'Evening Herald' and the Irish Independent are testament to an enduring love for newspapers -- and all their foibles. Vinnie's great talent was seamlessly blending his very individual personality with a genius for journalism. My deepest sympathy to Gertie, Garret, Conor and Vincent Jnr."

Senior Deputy Editor of the Irish Independent, Eddie Cunningham, said on behalf of all the editorial staff who worked with and beside Vinnie in getting his beloved paper out night after night, that his mere presence made it an experience, a rollercoaster of emotions -- and always a lesson in journalism at its real-life cutting edge.

He added: "For that reason and many, many others, he leaves us a legacy of memories and lessons we will not forget."

Declan Carlyle, Deputy Managing Director (Group Human Resources Director) of Independent Newspapers (Ireland) Limited, said he found Vinnie Doyle to be a shy man who never sought the limelight.

"His paper, which continually grew readership under his leadership, reflected his grasp of what the people of Ireland were really thinking. He fought the corner of editorial rigorously, while always maintaining the highest respect from all his colleagues.

"Vinnie's style was to let you know, directly, if he was unhappy about something -- then he'd phone you later and invite you for a pint after the edition. It was always about the paper, never personal."

Frank Cullen of the National Newspapers of Ireland said Vinnie Doyle would be remembered not only as one of the great editors but also as one who was instinctively in tune with the mood of the nation.

"He understood his readers, he gave them what they wanted and in return they gave him their loyalty. He loved news and he was happiest when it was his paper that broke a news story -- which it frequently did."

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